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Can an Affair Impact a California Divorce?

California is a no-fault divorce state, which means the spouse seeking a divorce doesn’t need to provide proof of the other spouse doing anything wrong. However, they will still need to provide a reason for the divorce.

The two possible reasons a person may file for divorce are:

  • other spouse suffers from incurable insanity; or
  • irreconcilable differences that have damaged the relationship beyond repair.

An extramarital affair would be classified as an irreconcilable difference. However, this discovery will have no bearing on any decisions a judge makes concerning the divorce.

What Does “No-Fault” Mean?

California is one of few states with a no-fault divorce clause. This means that neither party is considered a victim or aggressor in the divorce. Any reason the couple has for ending their marriage has no bearing on the court. The only thing a court will take into consideration is the fact that the marriage failed and the assets that need to be divided.

Does an Affair Affect Alimony?

  • The purpose of alimony is to ensure that the lesser-earning spouse does not unfairly suffer from the economic effects of divorce. The judge will consider the following factors when determining the duration and type of alimony to be granted: each spouse’s earning capacity to maintain the marital standard of living;
  • extent the receiving spouse contributed (if any) to the paying spouse’s earning capacity, potential income, assets, and standard of living;
  • debts and assets belonging to each spouse;
  • length of the marriage;
  • possible child custody;
  • age and health of each spouse;
  • history of domestic violence;
  • tax consequences of each spouse;
  • criminal convictions; and
  • goal of the receiving spouse to be self-sufficient within a reasonable timeframe.

Adultery (or any form of marital misconduct) is not considered a factor in divorce and judges cannot use it as a consideration when awarding alimony. The purpose of alimony is to ensure neither spouse falls below the poverty line; not to punish a spouse for indiscretions.

The only indiscretion a judge may consider (when it comes to alimony) is if one spouse has a history of domestic violence against the other. The judge has the power to reduce or eliminate any awards of alimony if the receiving spouse has a history of abuse.

Cecil Cianci Law, PC Can Help

No matter the reason for your split, our divorce attorneys can assist you. We recognize how emotionally charged a divorce can be, especially if there is reason to believe one spouse had an affair. Let us help you with the legal proceedings.

Call our firm today at (916) 675-3866 or contact us online for a legal consultation.